Work-Life Integration Not Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance became a much-debated topic that was linked to everything from employee productivity to employee well-being and even sublime debates on the real purpose of work in life.
The fact is that however much we try, there is no way work-life balance can be ensured. Clients work across time-zones and around the clock. And, being customer-focussed means we never have the option to say no or give up on a chance to help. We live in a highly competitive work environment where not everyone plays by the same rules and your peers may beat you by simply putting in more hours at work. In the IT industry to which I belong, change is both continuous and rapid and keeping abreast with this change requires a huge investment of time.
Essentially, the fight for conventional work-life balance is a losing battle. Jae Ellard, founder of Simple Intentions, shares -
“It doesn’t matter what we call ‘work-life balance’ because there is no such thing. Call it work-life harmony, integration, flexibility, flow, work-life fill-in-the-blank.”
I think it is time we came up with a proper work-life integration policy and recognise the reality of our blended work-life equation today.
A first step would be erasing the line that divides work from life or whatever lies outside work. It would be recognition that work happens all the time and everywhere already. Now, it’s time we accepted and enabled people to go about their non-work lives similarly while at work.
Balance means that you find the equal distribution between the various areas of your life to support you. Balance is not rooted in the amount of time you directly giving to one specific area compared to another; but rather the value you are gaining from each area to create counter-balance to create a fulfilling life.